Author Archives: Jacqueline Thornton

About Jacqueline Thornton

Lead intern for International Programs- Fall 2015. Major: General Studies – Concentration in Art & Humanities Minors: History, Religious Studies, and Photography

Exploring the Forbidden City–La Habana, Cuba

On December 17, 2014, President Obama and Cuban President Raul Castro announced the monumental decision to begin normalizing relations between the United States and Cuba.  In doing so, the two presidents initiated the process that will chip away at over 50 years of international discord.

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Classic Cuba- Photograph by Hanna Osthimer

A month prior to this historic announcement, I traveled to La Habana (Havana), Cuba aboard a ship along with 500 other students.  This was the final destination of a study abroad program, Semester at Sea, with an itinerary that included 14 other countries.

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Along El Malecon- Photograph by Hanna Osthimer

At this time, U.S. citizens were limited in accessing the island nation only 90 miles off the coast of Florida.  A visa granted on the basis of higher education allowed us an exclusive look into the country we had only read about briefly in textbooks.

If you were to ask me about Cuba before I visited, I would have only been able to recount simple phrases, hollowed of any cultural significance: Bay of Pigs, the Tropicana, and Cuban cigars.

Yet, in traveling to the country, I learned of the warmth, openness, and resilience of the Cuban people.  I learned that the Cuban people are divided on their view of the United States, oscillating between resentment and yearning.  Perhaps most importantly though, I learned about myself.

The fact is that Cuba is an impoverished nation where the majority of its people live in a state of hunger and need.  Yet, the collective outlook is one of joy and gratefulness to reside in an island paradise where life moves slowly and without the stress of wanting more, more, more.

The greatest lesson learned from Cuba remains in my heart today as I remember to appreciate all that I am fortunate enough to have.

Now almost a year after my visit, President Obama and President Raul Castro continue their commitment for change.  Just last week the two leaders met at the United Nations in light of Pope Francis’s visit to both countries.  Progress has already been made, with each nation reopening embassies in the capital cities.  I look forward to even more positive change in the months and years to come.

Would you consider traveling to Cuba, either for tourism or educational purposes?

Blog post written by Hanna Osthimer.

Around the World With International Programs

During International Education Week (November 16-20), International Programs (IP) and the Study Abroad Society will present, “Around the World with International Programs,” a chance to receive a $5 coupon for Starbucks or other campus restaurant by attending international programs events.

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To participate, visit the International Programs table early in the week to obtain a Passport. Attend a minimum of five International Education Week events (find the list of approved events here), have the presenter or IP staff member stamp or initial your passport at the end of the event as proof of attendance.

Once you have attended your events, return your passport to the International Programs table to receive a $5 coupon* valid for the on-campus Starbucks, University Grill, or the Sub Connection. All IU South Bend students, faculty, and staff are eligible to participate and are encouraged to attend as many events as possible.

For further information or questions, please email Lead Intern Jackie Thornton at jdthornt@iusb.edu.

*There are only 50 coupons to give away.

Cultures of the Caribbean: New course for Spring 2016

Are you still registering for courses for your spring semester? Consider a new course taught by Dr. James VanderVeen.

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“This course is an overview of the complex societies of the Caribbean region, a true ‘melting pot’ of European, African, Asian, and Native American cultures.”

Dr. VanderVeen will show students how to examine the economic, political, and social issues that the Caribbean region has experienced in its past and present. The course will cover topics on colonialism, “race,” religion, migration, tourism, and popular culture.

For more information about Dr. VanderVeen’s class, ANTH-E 300 “Culture Areas and Ethnic Groups,” please contact him at jmvander@iusb.edu.

ANTH-E 300 “Culture Areas and Ethnic Groups” meets Monday and Wednesday from 1:00 PM to 2:15 PM.

Kicking Off Our “International Recipe Series” with Chancellor Allison

In preparation for International Education Week (November 16-20), International Programs will be featuring a favorite international food or recipe from students, faculty, and staff from Indiana University South Bend.

In celebration of this project, we are excited and honored to present our first recipe that comes to us from IU South Bend Chancellor, Terry Allison:


A favorite recipe of mine is a French chocolate cake – Gateau au chocolat l’éminence brune.  I learned the recipe from Julia Child. 

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An adaptation of the recipe is published by the New York Times. This version is not so clear about how to mix the ingredients at the end, however. 

So, here’s what you do:  You have the chocolate batter, the beaten egg whites, and the cornstarch.  First you take ¼ of the egg whites and mix them in quickly with the chocolate batter to lighten it.  Then, you add about 1/3 of the cornstarch, and quickly mix it in. Add another ¼ of the egg white mixture and repeat until you’ve folded in all the egg white and starch.  This has to be done quickly, because your goal is that the egg whites don’t deflate too much and the more you mix, the more you’ll lose the fluffiness.  Also, don’t be surprised when the cake comes out of the oven and deflates.  This is a rich, dense cake so it doesn’t have a lot of air in it at the end.

I love this recipe because it tastes like the essence of chocolate.  It has the bitter as well as the sweet.  Some friends just made it for me for my birthday and it was absolutely delicious.   Also, there’s a short opera about making this recipe!  That adds to the mystique of the recipe.

Finally, I lived in Paris two different times, a year each time.  Making a classic French recipe reminds me of my longest stays abroad.


Special thanks to Chancellor Allison for participating in our International Recipe project and kicking us off to a great start!

Find more amazing recipes on our Facebook and Twitter pages for the next several weeks!

Blog post by International Programs intern Sara Arnett.

“A Thank You that Lasts a Lifetime” from Hannah Van

This blog features IU South Bend’s Student Government Association President, Hannah Van.

Now a Costa Rica study abroad alumna, Van wrote the following letter to thank her scholarship donors.


Dear Julienne and Patrick, 

I hope that all is well with both of you! Although it was just last week we were emailing back and forth, I feel like so much time has passed. Thank you for all the wonderful advice prior to the trip, it was such a wonderful time and I want to share with you a little bit about my experience that you made possible. 

The excursions and resort stays were relaxing and beautiful! Although I enjoyed them a lot, I found myself taking a special interest in spending time with the Ticos and studying the culture. My favorite part of the trip was casually interviewing a wide range of Ticos when time permitted. I learned so much about the current period and the history of the politics, tax system, and entrepreneurship in Costa Rica. It was fascinating to hear the range of opinions supplementing the facts. The discussions often led to interesting things; some in particular stood out. The fact that the economy and living environment of China is so different from Costa Rica’s, yet the history of their political systems are so similar was fascinating to me. The correlation ran up to the Chinese “culture fever” in the 1980’s. The period after Mao’s death developed a movement similar to the movement after the return of Carmin to Costa Rica. I not only learned many things, but it was neat to see how excited the Natives were to share the history. 

It was challenging to seek out individuals who knew or had entrepreneurial experiences. Shop owners at the local stores were the only ones I could really sneak away to talk with. The legal system was brought forward in almost every conversation. I was caught off guard when discussing income and the role that Costa Rican lawyers have. After assessing the surroundings towards the end of the week the reasoning was clear. It was especially exciting to have my final interviews with Gary and Alberto from the Academy. Knowing that they would have good insight on the corporation process, I had prepared many direct questions in advance. I learned a lot from both of them regarding the growth of foreign entrepreneurship.

The most enjoyable 24 hours were spent in Nosarita. Spending our “free” time individually with the locals was amazing. A language barrier was present but that didn’t keep us from communicating. The cook’s granddaughter resembled my appearance and I’m grateful to say they took a special interest in welcoming me. That first night after our soccer game, I stuck around with the cooks and the rest of the young girls. The following morning I woke up a few hours early with the intention to find a native to interact with. I discovered the Nosarita school children and we played on the monkey bars and practiced counting in English. Cynthia saw that I had developed a bond with the Nosarita kids and allowed me to stay back with them while the rest of the group traveled to Belen for other service projects. That day with Jefferson, Jordan, Emily, Marisol, and Rosalinda was a transforming experience! 

I want to thank you for making that experience, all the knowledge gained, and the trip as a whole, possible for me. With your assistance I have been able to learn so much about a wonderful place and expand my understanding of another cultural. It makes me so excited to think that your scholarship does not end with me and will continue to provide opportunity for others to experience the Costa Rica program as well.  I plan to continue my journey with the Costa Rica Program. Not only by reaching out and learning more about the legal system, politics, and entrepreneurial potential, but through giving back to the program as you have done! Thank you again for this wonderful opportunity and being an encouragement to follow the path of giving back.

Sincerely, 

Hannah Van

P.S. I would love to hear more about your experience in the program! What was your favorite part? What was the most fascinating thing you learned?

This ‘Thank You’ was not the last of our relationship. Julie and I continued to email back and forth until I finally made it to Dallas to meet in person. Julie and Patrick welcomed me with open arms to the Dallas community and made sure that I enjoyed my time and had someone if I needed anything. It’s more than a scholarship that I can thank them for. Julie is a role model and a mentor. IU and the South Bend campus needs more Julies to change students’ lives one thoughtful act at a time. Thank you…

Dr. Monica Tetzlaff Presents: “Fufu, Drumming, and Batlik: What I Learned in Ghana”

On Friday, October 23rd from 6:00 PM to 8:00 PM in DW 1001, Dr. Tetzlaff (a professor at IU South Bend) will speak about her academic year at the University of Ghana Legon. 

Dr. Monica Tetzlaff in front of the Fulbright House, where she stayed in Ghana

Dr. Monica Tetzlaff in front of the Fulbright House, where she stayed in Ghana

In Ghana, Dr. Tetzlaff researched in the Institute of African Studies and taught material on the African diaspora and women’s issues.

In addition to research and teaching, Dr. Tetzlaff adapted to living in Africa by learning that there was not just one way to do something. A great example of this is how she learned how to eat soup with her hands, which Dr. Tetzlaff will discuss during her lecture.

Join IU South Bend in welcoming back Dr. Tetzlaff back to campus and learn more about the culture of Ghana.

Check out the “Michiana’s African Connection Series: Kenya” this Sunday!

Join the IU South Bend Civil Rights Heritage Center in a presentation about the Republic of Kenya on October 18 (Sunday). “Michiana’s African Connection Series” is focused on strengthening the relationship between Africans and African Americans living in the Michiana area.

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The IU South Bend Civil Rights Heritage Center says that the series will offer “events that explores and appreciates each of the unique African nations that contribute to our city. Through food, through music, through stories, and especially through people, “Africans In Michiana” is a celebration of the amazing cultures throughout our region.”

In addition to the presentations, guests can enjoy traditional Kenyan dishes.

“Michiana’s African Connection Series: Kenya” will be on Sunday, October 18th from 3:30 PM to 6 PM at the IU South Bend Civil Rights Heritage Center (1040 West Washington Street, South Bend, IN 46601).